Last week, I introduced the topic of background knowledge and how important it is to kids reading and learning success. This week, I will share some engaging strategies parents can try to support kids in expanding their knowledge base. But, I have to warn you…these tips might turn your kids into VORACIOUS knowledge seekers! If you are okay with that, then let’s get to it!
I know. This is a no-brainer. But, we often forget just how important reading a variety of texts is to building background knowledge. Encourage your children to read widely across different genres and topics, including fiction, non-fiction, and informational texts. Visit the library together and provide access to age-appropriate books that align with their interests. The more DIFFERENT types of books they read, the more information they are storing in their brains to call upon later when they are learning or reading about something new. Exposing kids to a variety of genres helps increase the chances of having those “light bulb” moments when they are learning about a new topic and they realize that they have read about it before. It creates a sense of comfort and familiarity, making them want to keep reading or learning about the topic.
Engage in Conversations
Summer is here. Life is crazy busy some days. There are sports to be played, barbecues to attend, friends to hang out with, right? Who has time to have deep conversations? Well, if you can, make time. Having regular conversations about various subjects are important for increasing background knowledge. So, the next time you are all sitting around the dinner table, ask open-ended questions to stimulate their critical thinking and encourage them to express their opinions. Discuss current events, books they’ve read, or any other topic they find interesting. This helps them develop their communication skills and broadens their perspective.
Encourage Hobbies and Interests
When school is not in session, it’s really easy to allow kids to sleep in late, look at their screens for hours, and raid your pantry. (Can you tell that I am speaking from experience?) But, summer is also the PERFECT time to have your kids explore new interests. Whether it’s playing a musical instrument, painting, coding, or any other activity, their engagement in these areas can expand their knowledge in specific domains. Provide them with resources, lessons, and opportunities to explore and excel in their chosen hobbies. There might even be something you and your child can do together and create lasting memories.
Remember that kids have unique interests and learning styles, so it’s essential to tailor your approach to their individual needs and preferences. By providing supportive and intellectually stimulating experiences, you can help your children develop a lifelong love for learning and increase their background knowledge. These ideas are not only fun, but will help set them up for success during the next school year!